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Most people don’t think a gender-pay gap at work exists

It will take 118 years to close the gender-pay gap in the workplace, the World Economic Forum predicted last year. Despite its documented existence, however, most American workers don’t notice the difference between what men and women make, new research shows.

A report released on Thursday by salary and employment web site Glassdoor found 89 percent of workers felt men and women should be paid equally for equal work, and 60 percent said they would not apply for a job at a company if they believed gender compensation was unfair. The web site surveyed 8,254 full-time and part-time employees in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Yet, despite their strong defense of workplace equality, most survey respondents seemed unconvinced that the pay gap extended to their office: In the US, 78 percent of men and 60 percent of women felt their workplace paid men and women equally, Glassdoor found.

“The challenge of changing the gender-pay gap is that people don’t think they’ve experienced it firsthand,” said Susan Duffy, executive director for the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College. In the US, the average woman makes ¢79 for every dollar earned by a man.

The study shows that employees in different age groups think differently about the gender pay gap. Eighty-one percent of US employees between the ages of 18 to 24 would not consider working at a company with a known gender bias, which is the same for young millennials in most of the other countries surveyed. But after age 24, employees are a lot less idealistic. In the US, the percentage of people morally against working at a company with a gender pay gap drops to 68 percent, said the report.  People aged 45 and older are the most complacent: Only 13 percent would turn down a job at a place with a gender-pay gap. “When you have a mortgage and a family, a job is a job,” said Duffy, “So it really falls on the companies themselves to change the status quo.”

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